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Full text of "The Gay Genius"

Chapter Ten
THE TWO  BROTHERS

OU TUNGPO left the capital with his family in July 1071, to take up
^his post in the beautiful city of Hangchow on China's south-east
coast. For the next eight or nine years he served successively at Hang-
chow, Michow near Tsingtao, and Suchow in Kiangsu. This was the
period of his great activity as a poet, and he wrote beautiful songs,
songs of sadness, of humour, and of anger. Innocently and with a care-
free, almost childish abandon he sang of what he felt in his heart, and
NUJ the end it was these songs of sadness and of anger against the ruling
authorities that brought him into trouble.

His brother Tseyu was working as a poor college professor at Chen-
chow, then called Huaiyang, a city lying about seventy or eighty miles
to the south-east of the capital and on tie direct route of Su Tungpo's
journey. As he always did later, he took this opportunity to spend as
much time as he could with his brother and he stayed over seventy days.
His son was twelve years old and he had a baby of one year, but his
brother had a big family with many children. The quiet Tseyu just
J$£pt on producing children until he had three sons and seven daughters,
whom Su Tungpo helped to marry off. Su Tungpo gladly agreed with
his brother's plea to stay with them until the mid-autumn festival was
over. Tseyu was very poor and they were living in a small low building,
and Su Tungpo used to make fun of his brother's height.

"Bending his head, he reads the classics and history,
Straightening, his solid head strikes the roof."

Their old friend Chang Fangping, the retired elderly official, was living
in the same city and they had frequent wine dinners together. Chang
was a great drinker, his capacity being one hundred cups. According
|o himself, Tungpo had a much smaller capacity, but he felt that was
ife reason for his abstaining from wine. Ouyang Shiu, too, was a great
drinkeróbut Chang Fangping was able to outdrink him, for when
Chang began to drink, he did not say to his guests how many cups
they were going to drink, but how many days. "Yet," says Su Tungpo,
"I don't envy the great drinkers. I get drunk after a couple of cups, but
don't I enjoy it just as much as you people do?"

Enjoying these months of leisure and family reunion, the two brothers
often went boating on Willow Lake or walking in the suburbs of the
city, discussing politics, domestic affairs, and their future. One day

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